(Curb Records, 1995)
by Barbara A. Lopatin
I've been a Sawyer Brown fan for some thirteen years or so, since they first became an overnight sensation on Ed McMahon's Star Search. They were a huge hit; and they beat the competition on show after show. One of the reasons for their popularity (then and now) is that they have so much fun on stage and watching them is a sure-fire spirit booster. They truly love their music and the energy they exude is infectious. They don't just sing, they perform.
I wish I could say the same for their Greatest Hits 1990-1995 CD. It lacks the same fun filled energy that drew them such a following from the days of Star Search. Even the great boppin' song "Thank God For You" isn't the same without watching Mark Miller singing' it, struttin' it, and jumping around. It just lacks heart.
Another disappointment is how similar all of the songs sound. Not the lyrics--- Mark Miller has definite songwriting ability (and he wrote most of them). They're great songs, never lacking in telling a good story in a great way. It's the music; the beat never seems to change, and after 10 songs begins to sound more like a drone.
Most of my favorite groups lack their appeal in person. They rely so heavily on studio effects and editing to sound good that shelling out $30 for a concert is ludicrous. But Sawyer Brown has a lot of raw talent and they don't need the special extras the sound studio offers. I guess what they need the most is the energy that they get from performing in front of a live audience.
So, for now, I'd rather pay to see them in concert or even watch them on television. At least that way I won't be disappointed.
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